The Sony Walkman B140 is very nearly a true MP3 player, except it plays WMA files as well. There’s no poncey video screen on this 26g device, just a 3-line LCD that tells you what music’s playing. What it does do, though, it appears to do very well.
It takes just 3 minutes of USB charging to get 90 minutes of listening time but, if you’re not in any hurry, it’ll offer 18 hours of playback after a 70 min’s wait. They come in 2GB and 4GB models, in pink, orange, red and black, and even with an FM radio too.
Features-wise there’s a very early 90s sounding Bass Boost but, best of all, I’m just glad to see small MP3 players sticking to the USB roots for both charging and music transfers. Cables are so two Tuesday’s ago.
The Sony Walkman E440 is a slightly larger creature with much more to play with and back. It comes in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB sizes and adds H.264, MPEG-4 and WMV video codecs to the party which you can watch on the 2-inch QVGA LCD. A full recharge takes 2 hours and offers 30 back in music or 6 in video. There is a 45 minute 80% quick charge but, frankly, that’s not that quick.
Black and red are the colour choices, as you can see in the rather nice image below, and this 54g player has a five-band EQ along with a volume normaliser which makes sure your tracks are all at the same level. There’s also some sound technologies in the shape of Clear Stereo and Clear Bass to control sound leakage and low-end frequency distortion respectively.
Sadly, I can’t tell you how much they’ll cost. For some legal reasons, to which I’m not sure I wish to hear the explanation, Sony is no longer allowed to give out its RRPs. However, I’m expecting around the £69 mark for the B160 and maybe £80/90 for the E series. Just a guess. We’ll find out when they pop up in stores in the next couple of weeks.